Kelly Guilfoil Knight

Kelly Guilfoil Knight

Civic activist and former Glasgow resident Kelly Guilfoil Knight has been nominated by President George W. Bush as an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. The nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Knight, 45, who lives in Lexington, is the daughter of Dr. Bobby and Dale Guilfoil of Glasgow. She owns her own marketing and strategic management consulting firm, Kelly G. Knight, LLC. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Glas-gow High School.

As an alternate delegate, she will join 192 delegates who will convene Sept. 18 to consider and make recommendations on numerous world issues. Roger D. Young of Michigan was also nominated as an alternate delegate.

In a telephone interview Wednesday after the White House announced her nomination, Knight said she hopes to focus on children’s issues and “social, humanitarian and cultural issues” at the U.N. She is particularly interested in health issues relating to children in poverty and in Appalachia. Knight serves on the board of the Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

“It will be a special honor to be part of the U.S. delegation, especially given the enormous global issues at stake for our country,” Knight said. “I’m grateful for the chance to represent the American people and Kentucky and contribute to our nation through public service.”

Knight has made a name for herself as a prodigious fund-raiser for Republican candidates and the Republican Party. She is the Kentucky Chair for finance for the Republican National Commit-tee and raised enough money for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign to be named a Pioneer, the top level of givers to Bush’s campaigns. She has raised money for Kentucky Republican candidates, including Gov. Ernie Fletcher, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and U.S. Representatives Hal Rogers and Ron Lewis. She previously served on the Republican Party of Kentucky state Central Committee’s Executive Committee and she served as the RPK finance chair in 2004-05.

She contributed to the campaign last year of one Democrat, fellow Barren Countian Jim Gray in his successful bid for a seat on the Lexington Urban Council. And her father, a Glasgow veterinarian, is active in Demo-cratic politics.

Knight said her parents taught her the kind of values and independence that allowed her to make her own decisions about her political philosophy and affiliation, in explaining how she became a Republican.

“That’s just the way I was raised,” she said. “I just kind of evolved in my philosophy.”

She said she became actively involved in politics in 2004 when she raised money for Bush’s re-election campaign. She said her experience in civic fundraising made her successful at raising money in politics as well. Once involved in politics, Knight said, she found the “mixture of people and personalities” a powerful draw.

She also is on the boards of the United Way of the Blue-grass, the Kentucky Arts Council and the Bluegrass Council of Boy Scouts of America. She formed a non-profit, With One Heart, to raise money to aid the victims of the tsunami that devastated Indo-nesia and other countries in Southeast Asia in 2004.

She believes her biggest challenge at the U.N. will be negotiating the bureaucracy and “finding my way around.”

“I want to make sure I’m well-informed and can be a contributor during the session,” she said.

She is married to Lexington orthodontist Judson Knight and is the mother of two children.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. He may be contacted by e-mail at


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